Flowers are much like preschool students in several ways. They are beautiful, bright, come in many colors, and can grow very quickly! Each flower is unique, but although they are all different, they all grow the same way. This unit will show students the life cycle of a flower and the parts of a flower. This will be a more simplified version than that taught in elementary schools. This unit will set the foundation for the science they will learn as they move through elementary school!
Materials for Entire Unit
- The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
- Large flower shape cut out of fabric or construction paper
- Worksheet with picture of large flower
- Red, blue, green, and yellow crayons
- Plastic cups
- Flower seeds
- Watering can
- Sample Flower Craft
- Construction paper of varying colors
- Green pipe cleaners
- Child safety scissors
Day One Directions
Begin your flower unit by showing the students a flower (real or fake) and asking the students what it is. When they tell you that it is a flower, ask them how they know it’s a flower. Why is it not a weed or a bush? This should encourage students to name the features of a flower, such as the color, petals, leaves, stem, and other common flower features. Talk about the parts of the flower, point them out on the flower as you go. The parts that should be discussed should not be as difficult as those learned in elementary school, such as stamen. Some examples of simplifying this include:
Next, place the large flower cut-out on the wall or board. One at a time, ask the students to come to the board and place a large label in the correct place on the flower. You may want to do this more than once to make sure all of the students participate and understand the parts of the flower. Finally give the students a worksheet that you created with a picture of a large flower. Ask the students to circle the petals with a red crayon, the pollen with a yellow crayon, the leaves with a green crayon, and the stem with a blue crayon. This will be a great assessment to make sure the students understand the concept before moving on.
Day Two Directions
Begin Day Two by reviewing the parts of the flower with the students. You may re-label the flower cut-out or just discuss it with a picture. This should be a quick review, not a full lesson! When you are done with the labeling activity, ask the students to tell you where flowers come from. Encourage the students to say that a flower starts as a seed. Tell the students that they will all be planting their own flowers and learning about the way a flower grows as you watch it happen. Tell them today they will see the seeds that the flowers will come from, but first you will be hearing the story of one flower seed’s journey. At this time, read Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed.
When you are finished reading, give each student a plastic cup filled about 3/4 of the way with soil. Have the students use their fingers to make a hole in the middle of the soil that goes about half way down. Now give each student a pinch full of flower seeds. Tell the students to place the seeds in the hole and cover them up completely with the soil. Next, ask the students what we need to do to make the flower grow. Encourage answers about the sun and watering the seed. Tell the students that plants need water and sunlight to grow. Walk around with a watering can and water each plant. Have the students write their name on their cups and place them in the windowsill.
Next, introduce the craft you will be doing as a class. It may be a good idea to put a sample together ahead of time to show the students an example of the finished product. Now give each student multiple sheets of construction paper of their choice. Have the students trace their hands multiple times (approximately 8) on the construction paper and cut them out. Next, have them glue them together in a circle with the palms toward the center. Then have the students cut out a small circle of a different color and glue it in the center. Finally, the students will each get a green pipe cleaner to glue onto the back of their flower.
Days Three through Twenty-One
On the days following planting, have the students check their flowers. Ask the children to tell you how their plant may have changed since the day before. (They will not notice a change each day.) While doing this, you will also want to have the students water their plants. As you discuss the changes, talk about what part of the life cycle the plant is in at the time. Some possible parts of the life cycle that you may want to discuss will be:
- The seed beginning to open (before seeing a change)
- The roots begin to grow (also before seeing a change)
- A sprout begins to appear
- The sprout grows taller
- Leaves and a bud appear
- The bud begins to open
- The flower opens completely
- The flower continues to grow taller
This observation should be a quick activity, and the discussion should be short each day. It should take approximately five to ten minutes to conduct both. You may also want the students to keep a flower journal by having them draw a picture of what their flower looks like in a notebook each day so they can document the change. The teacher needs to date each page for the child.
Flowers are beautiful and smell wonderful, but they can also be great learning tools for young students. This preschool flower unit introduces the simple parts of a flower and demonstrates the life cycle of a flower. Not only will this unit help many flowers grow and blossom, but your students’ young minds will also begin to bloom.